BACK STORY ENCORE
Denise Crawford President & CEO, Family Health Center
Denise Crawford has come a long way from the “Blue Pad
Team.” As a student at Western Michigan University, Crawford had the unenviable job of working the overnight shift at Borgess Medical Center (now Ascension Borgess Hospital) replacing the absorbent blue pads placed under incontinent patients. “It was a job many, many college students had at Borgess, and we didn’t really have a formal job title so we called ourselves ‘The Blue Pad Team,’” Crawford says with a chuckle. “It was our job throughout the night. We would go and essentially check and change the pads for the patients, so that was my very first kind of foray into health care and it was, oh, so sexy.” But it didn’t dissuade her from a career in health care. The Kalamazoo native, now 51, spent a majority of her career in the Borgess health care system, working up the ranks until she was the director of physician services and ambulatory care at Borgess Lee Hospital in Dowagiac. In 2009, ready for a new challenge, she took the helm of Family Health Center, which provides medical care for the low-income and minority populations of Kalamazoo County.
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38 | ENCORE SEPTEMBER 2020